Dear False Guilt,
I CAN’T believe you dared to show your ugly face around me again! And so sneaky . . . .After that whole knock-down drag-out we had five years ago in PNG where you made me feel like the world’s worst mom and biggest loser, I thought I’d recognize you if you crept back in my life.
You snarky little witch, with your “You’re not good enough, smart enough, nice enough, pretty enough, etc.” Maybe it was just my false confidence, thinking that I’d beaten you once and for all instead of realizing that you’d be back, trying to make me believe that “who I am” and “what I am” are the same thing.
SO . . . just to show you that I’m wise to your game, here are a few of the things that I most recently vow NOT to feel guilty about anymore.
1. I DON’T LIKE SCRAPBOOKING!!! I know that lots of great mothers spend hours cutting out photos and small pieces of paper to chronicle their families lives. I do not. I am no longer going to waste one second of my life bemoaning my lack of talent in this endeavor. When all the other children get their gorgeous “Senior Album,” lovingly chronicling each transition from cradle to cap and gown, I will say, “How great for them!” and tell my kids that I’m happy to give them a thumb-drive (or whatever the equivalent will be in the far distant future) full of photos that they may compile.
2. I DON’T BUY ORGANIC! Of course it is recommended and better, but I’d rather be debt-free and pesticide laden than the reverse. The non-organic supposedly steroid-laced milk that is supposed to have some bust-enhancing properties has not done JACK for me and I’ve been drinking it all my life, so bring it on . . . . While the rest of the world can continue buying it, I am not going to waste one more second feeling like a loser when I would have to double our grocery budget to buy this food. (I have looked into it.) We eat lots of produce, I cook from scratch, I garden, I shop the Farmer’s Market, and I stick to a relatively teensy budget, so FALSE GUILT, you are just going to have to pick another gal for the organic guilt trip. I and my non-enhanced bust are done with you. (Update: This post was written pre-Poorganic days. Now we eat some poorganic food, but still not the milk. :))
3. SOMETIMES I LET MY KIDS WATCH TONS OF TV. My kids are very good at watching TV. I have trained them to watch it fixedly and with total focus so that I can get lots of stuff done while it is on. The minute they seem to lose interest, I turn it off, so there is no option to have TV in the “background.” They are only allowed to watch it if it anesthetizes them. I think TV is a great learning tool, especially if you inundate them with lots of educational programs and video games. There are possibly scores of reasons why I could feel guilty about this, but since I am generally awesome at parenting, I’ve decided to let this one go. You FALSE GUILT, cannot convince me otherwise, no matter what statistics say.
4. I HATE EXERCISING. Lots of people have tried to tell me that if I really stuck to it, I would love it, but I don’t. FALSE GUILT, I am telling you that I will keep trying to exercise because I know it is good for me, but I AM NOT going to like it. I will stay active, and adopt a new pattern (yoga, jogging, walking) whenever I get an ache or a pain, but I am not going to feel bad about not wanting to run a marathon. I JUST DON’T WANT TO!!! If I have an extra hour to do something, I’m going to blog or read or watch a movie. If I decide that the best pick-me-up in the morning is not a jog, but rather a fourth cup of coffee, there is just not one DARN thing that you can do about it. Did I mention that you are not the boss of me?
5. I DON’T HOMESCHOOL.
Even though I feel like it should be obvious to everyone why a public school teacher’s kids would not be homeschooled, I also hear you whispering homeschoolish words in my ear all the time. I hear you pointing out to me the other moms who homeschool and telling me that they are better, smarter, and more loving than me. Well, I have two words for you . . . Preschool Prep!. I do homeschool . . . sort of. By way of all the TV and DVDs they watch, my not-even-two year old daughter knows all her colors, numbers, shapes, and letters AND she shouts “ABRE” whenever she wants a door opened. Thankfully, they will get to go to a great public school where their father works, where I went, and where certainly they will pick up a thing or two over the years. Find some other person to guilt about schooling; I’m done with you on this subject.
6. MY HOUSE ISN’T THAT CLEAN. I’m tired of apologizing for this and you making me feel like this makes me an inadequate person, unworthy of having guests over. I have three messy small children crammed into 1090 square feet. They like to spread their food on the walls, miss the toilet when the pee, and strew as many small Lego or Polly-Pocket-sized toys around as they possibly can. Is this really my fault? How can you expect me to feel bad about this anymore? Does my house get any more clean by way of all the disclaimers that I offer people before they come over. Here is a news flash for you: Having a messy house does not make me a bad person. HA! In fact, in the times of my life where I am most stressed out by my house, I am strung a bit tightly. I am cranky. I am annoyed easily. I am nit-picking. I am probably ovulating. Is that really a person you want to visit? No. No it isn’t. You want to visit the messy me. The one who has lots of laundry (usually clean) piled on the red chair. Sufficient crumbs and juices remaining on the last eating surface to provide and additional meal for any hungry insects. The one who, yes, dashed to the bathroom to wipe down the corners of the toilet for pee, because even relaxed me doesn’t like to have my guests smell urine in my bathroom. It’s not you, FALSE GUILT, motivating me. It is a truer nobler friend, PERSONAL HYGIENE.
FALSE GUILT, I want you to know that I intend to write you letters every time I think of one thing that you’ve tried to make me feel unnecessarily bad about. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m perfect. If ACTUAL GUILT ever visits, mark my words, I will pay attention. ACTUAL GUILT usually keeps me from sleeping and reminds me of some sin or poor choice I made rather than generally insinuating that I’m just lame or not as good as I could be if I was cleaner, more organic, homeschooled, scrapbooked, exercised a lot and didn’t own a TV. (I am so depressed just thinking about that girl. Poor her.) ACTUAL GUILT points the finger at ME instead of suggesting that I look at others to see how I fall short. ACTUAL GUILT motivates me to change. You, giant cloud of depressing shame and self-loathing, you make me SICK!!!
With a giant hokker directed at your face,
To my lovely Readers, feel free to purge your own FALSE GUILT in the comments section. This has been EVER so freeing for me, and I feel sure it will be for you as well.